Understanding Physicals: DOT or Non-DOT?
Physicals are an essential part of many industries, but none more so than those in transportation. Whether you are an employer looking to hire commercial drivers, or a driver wondering what type of physical you need, it is important to understand the difference between DOT and Non-DOT physicals. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between DOT and Non-DOT physicals, what each entails, and whether or not physicals get reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
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What is a DOT Physical?
A DOT Physical is a medical examination that ensures commercial drivers meet certain physical and mental requirements to safely operate a commercial vehicle. This exam is conducted by a medical examiner, who must be certified and listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). The exam covers a range of issues that could impact a driver’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely, including vision, hearing, blood pressure, and other physical and mental health conditions. Commercial drivers must undergo a DOT Physical every two years, though some may be required to have more frequent exams, depending on their medical history which may lead to repeating a physical between 90 – 365 days or until the individual becomes healthier and able to pass a standard DOT Physical..
What is a Non-DOT Physical?
Unlike a DOT Physical, a Non-DOT Physical is not required by law, but many employers may choose to require one for various reasons. A Non DOT Physical can cover a range of issues, depending on the employer’s needs, but typically focuses on general health and wellness, including issues such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall fitness. Employers may also require drug and alcohol screenings as part of a Non-DOT Physical, though this is not required by law.
Do Physicals get Reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
As of January 2020, DOT Drug Screen infractions (positives, refusals and others) are required to be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse. DOT Physicals are not required to be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, which was established as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that allows employers, medical review officers, and state licensing agencies to access information related to drug and alcohol program violations by commercial drivers. The Clearinghouse also serves as a central repository for all DOT Drug Screen infractions as well as eligibility to drive..
Non-DOT Physicals, on the other hand, are typically not reported to any Clearinghouse either, as they are not required by law. However, employers may choose to keep a record of Non-DOT Physicals, as they may be useful in the event of an accident or insurance claim.
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is an important tool for ensuring the safety of commercial drivers on our roads. By requiring DOT Drug Screens to be reported to the Clearinghouse, employers and state licensing agencies can quickly and easily access important information about a driver’s drug and alcohol program history, as well as any other issue that could impact their ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely. The Clearinghouse is a valuable resource for employers, as it can help identify potential problem drivers before they become a liability, and it can also help ensure that drivers remain in compliance with federal regulations.
In conclusion, understanding the difference between DOT and Non-DOT Physicals is essential for employers and commercial drivers alike. While DOT Physicals are required by law and are not reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, Non-DOT Physicals are not a legal requirement and are typically not reported to the Clearinghouse either. However, employers may choose to require Non-DOT Physicals for various reasons, including ensuring the overall health and wellness of their employees. By staying informed about these important issues, employers and commercial drivers can help ensure the safety of our roads and highways.